Royal St. Andrews Hotel

Thistle Restaurant

Reserve a Table  

Fine dining with a twist

The award-winning Thistle Restaurant harks back to an era of fine dining when people dressed for dinner. 

In fact, our guests like it so much that they do dress up – and expect other diners to enter into the spirit as well. So it is the only restaurant in Port Alfred with a dress code – smart, but no need for coat and tails.

It is also one of a handful of Eastern Cape restaurants to be featured in the annual Diners Club Winelist Awards.

Although arriving in a dress suit is the kind of twist that Chef Debby and her food-loving team in the kitchen would appreciate.

You will be able to see them in action through a glass wall built specially to infuse a different taste to the experience. Fine dining is never boring at the Royal St. Andrews!

All the dishes are infused with flavours, textures and combinations which are out of the ordinary. 

Just like the décor of the historic Royal St. Andrews hotel through which you will stroll on your way to the Thistle Restaurant. 

An eclectic mix of comfortable upholstered chairs, period pieces, modern furniture, subtle lighting and soft background music set the scene as you walk in. 

On the tables you will find crystal glasses, linen napkins and silver cutlery – all setting the tone for a fine dining experience


Your meal will start with an amuse-bouche – designed to wake up and excite the taste buds. 

The menu itself captures the flavours of the Sunshine Coast, with Chef Debby sourcing the freshest and finest ingredients locally wherever possible.

Fish is bought off the boat in Port Alfred, lamb and springbok sourced from the Karoo, venison from the surrounding farms and greens and vegetables from organic growers. 

Wines to accompany the dishes are selected from the Thistle Restaurant’s own temperature and humidity-controlled wine cellar. It is one of the only restaurants on the Sunshine Coast to have its own wine cellar – which helped it garner the prestigious Diners Club award less than a year after opening. 

The Thistle’s wine list includes a selection from DeMorgenZon, an estate which plays “harmonious and melodious” music through speakers placed in its vineyards and cellars.  

Another is Vergelegen, which in 2005 was South Africa's first Biodiversity in Wine Initiative (BWI) Champion. 
As for the view, the restaurant looks out over a picturesque central courtyard where wooden walkways are bordered by lush gardens. 

A perfect end to the meal is chef Debby’s favourite dessert – Chocolate Mousse, Salted Butter Caramel. 
Making pastry is her “happy place,” and this shows in the tastes, textures and quality of the desserts and complimentary breads baked fresh on the premises


Reservations are essential. We regret that no under 12's are permitted. Dress Code is Smart, and is Strictly Applied.

Our Executive Chef

Debby van Wyk

Chef Debby graduated from Silwood in 1999. After spending a few years at various Relais Chateaux Properties such as Gorah Elephant Camp, Kurland Hotel & Polo Club, Phinda Mountain & Rock Lodges. Debby then settled at The Mount Nelson Hotel, into the more serious tasks of choosing the style of cuisine that ignited her true culinary passions.

Under Chef Garth Stroebel's care Debby discovered her true passion for pure, simple, flavourful food.

After 2½ years of excellent tutorship, Debby felt it was time to move on to something different and devote energy to her second passion: teaching. Debby then joined Prue Leith Chefs Academy in Centurion from 2006 to 2011, lecturing in the art of Patisserie.

From 2011-2014 Debby ran her own consultancy business to the Hospitality Industry, she focused on upgrading the cuisine and menus of upmarket restaurants and five star Lodges. In 2014 one of her larger clients, offered her a permanent position as Executive Chef of all the Lion Sands Properties.

After relocating to the Eastern Cape in early 2015 Debby joined the Royal St Andrew Hotel team.